The Seventh-day Adventist Church has located the first original Bible ever to be translated into the Chamorro language and is republishing it for the Chamorro people.
The Chamorro Bible was discovered by Clarence L. Thomas, IV, a teacher at Guam Adventist Academy (GAA), after his 8th grade computer class needed a Bible in Chamorro to complete an Internet radio project. After Thomas was unable to locate a Chamorro Bible on the island, he began investigating if one even existed and, if so, what happened to it.
A Chamorro Bible was found at Yale University library and was loaned to GAA where Thomas made copies of the Bible and converted it into electronic format to be reprinted identically.
The Guam-Micronesia Mission of Seventh-day Adventists has taken hold of the Chamorro Bible Project and is returning the Bible to the Chamorro people. "Chamorros in the Mariana Islands and world-wide have a right to their own Bible," says Pastor Willy Nobuo, president of GMM.
Originally translated by Rev. Francis Price and published in 1908, the Chamorro Bible contains the four Gospels, Acts, and the Psalms. The Bible is also in a diglot format, meaning that Chamorro is on the left and English is on the right.
"The discovery of this Bible," says Nobuo, "is an important and unique contribution to the Chamorro history and culture, as well as to the spiritual growth of the Chamorro people."
The Chamorro Bible has disappeared from the Chamorro culture for nearly 100 years since its first publication. The Chamorro Bible was reprinted in 1952, but it was missing the book of Psalms. "Most Chamorros do not know that a Bible in their own language exists," says Bethany Martin, assistant communication director for GMM. "Due to spiritual conflict, natural disasters, and the war, the Chamorro Bible was neglected, until now."
The Seventh-day Adventist Mission is encouraging the Chamorro people to embrace this project and be the leaders in returning the Bible to their own people. A sum of $40,000 is needed to facilitate the republication of 6,000 copies of the original Chamorro Bible. A special issue of ISLES magazine, revealing the history and status of the Chamorro Bible, is now available to the public.
For more information, please contact Bethany Martin at [+1] 671-477-9745, or you may contact her on Monday and Tuesday, May 5-6, while in Saipan at [+1] 670-235-1484.